Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fighting Disease with Canned Tomatoes

Back in the 80s, scientist figured out that lycopene, a red substance found in tomatoes, is a potent antioxidant. Since then, the health benefits of lycopene have been piling up with a series of studies from around the globe, reports CNN.

Lycopene can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men by 34 percent, the risk of breast cancer in women by up to 50 percent and it's believed that the antioxidant fights heart disease, macular degeneration and
atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The red stuff is also suspected of lowering blood pressure and "bad" LDL cholesterol.

To get the health benefits of lycopene, you'll need about 30 milligrams a day, or 1 1/2 cups of tomato juice.

Interestingly enough, the best way to get lycopene isn't from farm fresh tomatoes, it's from the canned stuff. According to the CNN report, "Cooking tomatoes weakens the fruits' cell walls, which makes it easier for your body to absorb the lycopene." As it turns out, a half cup of spaghetti sauce has the lycopene of five raw tomatoes.

So, instead of hitting the produce aisle, reach for a jar of Prego.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.